Balance: a state of equilibrium, steadiness of the body or emotions

Living a balanced life can be challenging but, many times, our thinking―not events themselves―can cause a perceived imbalance.

Some authors have you separate your life into work and personal life, plus many other subsections. Even though these authors are well meaning, their strategies put another layer of rules and shoulds into your already busy life.

And how do you separate your life into subsections when all the elements of your life are interrelated? I would like to suggest that we don’t have a work, health, and personal life; we simply have a life—period. Rather than living your life by rules and arbitrary benchmarks, let me suggest a more common sense approach to this elusive thing called balance.

What does it mean to live a balanced life? Who gets to decide what is balanced and what is not? In spite of all the external pressures and recommendations, YOU are the only one who truly can evaluate whether you have balance in your life.

However, unless you are intentional about your life balance, your fulfilment and enjoyment of life can be significantly impaired. In fact, work-related stress is costing companies billions in worker absenteeism every year.

Research says that over 25% of the North American population is working more than 50 hours a week. My contrarian comment? What’s your point?!

Who said that 50 or 60 hours are too many or that 40 hours are better?

If we are all so busy, how can North Americans watch 5 hours of TV on average, every day? That’s why we cancelled TV in our home – it did not contribute to balance.

Life balance has way more to do with what you are doing and how much you enjoy what you are doing. Case in point, if you hate your job, 10 hours a week is too many and will completely mess up your equilibrium (life balance)!

When we try to separate work from our “life,” it suggests we are working for something other than the joy of doing our work. If we work for the sole purpose of earning the right to do something else other than work, balance becomes very difficult to achieve.

Balance (feeling emotionally stable) comes from enjoying what you do.

I work 50 hours a week, sometimes less, sometime more, but I would feel unbalanced with anything different. My work represents my values, passions, purpose, and talents. It is my contribution to others.

Bottom Line: when I am engaging my purpose, I feel balanced.

What about you? Does what you do in life contribute to your purpose, and therefore support your feeling of being balanced?

Discretionary time is an important factor that contributes to life balance. If your schedule keeps you busy from dawn to dusk, it is nearly impossible to feel balanced.

So how do you strike balance in your life’s equation? Schedule the most important items first—the items that are non-negotiable life balancers for you, no matter what, such as time alone with family, volunteering, playing, staying healthy, etc.

Make sure you have discretionary time to be, and do, things that make you feel balanced. Research shows that you do need to take time off to rejuvenate, to reflect, and to enjoy. The amount of time you need is up to you.

True balance comes from living your values, and playing to your

strengths, in all aspects of your life.

And guess what? Only you can choose what they are for you. Embrace the balance principles that represent a balanced life for you, so you have more wins than losses―more balanced days and weeks than unbalanced ones.

To confirm your values, so that you can live them, try our Values Preference Indicator.

In the end, you get to decide what makes you feel balanced. By definition then, fulfilment infers balance.

After all, it is your life!

Author's Bio: 

Ken Keis, Ph.D, President of CRG, is considered a global authority on the way assessment strategies increase and multiply your success rate. In 26 years, he has conducted over 3,000 presentations and invested 10,000+ hours in consulting and coaching. He is the author of Why Aren’t You More Like Me? - Discover the Secrets to Understanding Yourself and Others, and co-author of the new Deliberate Leadership - Creating Success Through Personal Style. His newest book The Quest For Purposearrives fall 2015. He has also co-created CRG’s proprietary development models, written more than 3.5 million words of content for 40 business training programs, and written over 400 articles. Ken’s expertise includes assisting individuals, families, teams, and organizations to realize their full potential, and to live On Purpose!